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Fire Emblem: Awakening

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Awakening

FEA Logo.png Ba america fe13.png
North American (NTSC) English logo and box art.
Developer(s)

Intelligent Systems

Publisher(s)

Nintendo

Release date(s)

JPApril 19th, 2012
USFebruary 4th, 2013[1]
EUApril 19th, 2013[2]
AUSApril 20th, 2013

Rating(s)

ACB: M[3]
CERO: B
ESRB: T[4]
PEGI: 12[2]

Platform(s)

Nintendo 3DS

Predecessor

Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Heroes of Light and Shadow

Successor

None

Fire Emblem: Awakening (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム覚醒 Fire Emblem: Awakening) is a turn-based strategy role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS console, released in Japan in 2012 and the rest of the world 2013. It is the thirteenth overall game installment in the Fire Emblem series, the eleventh original title and the first original installment in the five years since Radiant Dawn. It is a distant sequel to Mystery of the Emblem and New Mystery of the Emblem, set thousands of years in the future of the continent Archanea, now a very different world. It follows the story of Chrom, prince of Ylisse and distant heir of the Hero-King Marth, as he leads The Shepherds in observing and combating the bizarre activities of the neighbouring country Plegia.

Awakening is the first title on a Nintendo console to facilitate the creation and sale of paid downloadable content, here coming in the form of purchasable maps and characters, sometimes providing completely unique classes and skills. A special edition package for the game was produced and available in both Japan and America, containing a Awakening-themed "Cobalt Blue" Nintendo 3DS system with unique printing on the shell; the Japanese version of the package also contained a physical copy of the game and 1000 eShop points, while the American version has a digital copy of the game pre-installed on the Nintendo 3DS system. The European release received a similar bundle, except with a Awakening-themed Nintendo 3DS XL, the larger variant of the console.[2]

Originally released in Japan in April 2012, Awakening was not released internationally until the following year. A European release was tentatively confirmed in February 2012, with no specific release date provided, and a United States release was accidentally confirmed by Reggie Fils-Aime at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012;[5] solid release dates were not confirmed until December of that year.[1] In the United States of America, Awakening was the subject of an extensive advertising campaign to a scale unprecedented for the Fire Emblem series, receiving extensive preview coverage on Nintendo of America's Facebook page.

Plot


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Two sleeping dragons - one a sacred ally of mankind, the other its sworn destroyer. Two heroes marked with symbols of the dragons. Their meeting heralds the dragons' awakening - and the world's ending.
— English text in the game's Japanese logo[6]

Over one thousand years have passed since the Shadow Dragon Medeus died his final death at the hands of the Hero-King Marth and the continent of Archanea was united under a single flag under his rule. In this time, countries have come and gone, Archanea has once again split into three nations, and the descendants of Marth and his wife Caeda are now the royal family of Ylisse, a peace-loving nation which reveres the Divine Dragon Naga; this royal family possesses the Brand of Naga on their bodies and are the owners of the divine blade Falchion and the Fire Emblem.

In the time of the rule of Exalt Emmeryn, reports of bizarre and dangerous behaviour have emerged concerning Plegia, a kingdom neighbouring Ylisse which instead worships Grima, the Fell Dragon which once threatened mankind and opposed Naga. In response to this troubling news, Ylisse's Prince Chrom, Emmeryn's younger brother, has convened a small militia called The Shepherds to observe Plegia's actions and repel violent acts from their neighbor. Among all of this, there are reports of strange undead creatures roaming the lands, and a swordsman claiming to be the Hero-King Marth himself has appeared, wielding the same Falchion now in Chrom's possession.

Gameplay

The development team of Awakening described the game as being intended as an "all-star" assortment of ideas from past Fire Emblem series installments.[7] Many of these features return from Gaiden and The Sacred Stones, acting as another spiritual successor to the former.

  • The world map system, similar to that of Gaiden and The Sacred Stones, allows the player to walk across the map to different locations to battle or shop.
  • Two new mechanisms are introduced which are additions to the support system: Dual and Pair Up. The Dual system grants the player's units statistical bonuses in battle when standing next to each other, which can be boosted through gaining supports. The Pair Up system allows two units to fight together to defeat their enemies, with the supporting unit having a chance of dealing more damage to the enemy or protecting their ally from damage the enemy would deal.[6]
  • As in New Mystery of the Emblem, the Avatar concept is used again - a customizable main character, representing the player and playing a large part in the story.
  • Also returning from New Mystery of the Emblem is the Casual Mode, a gameplay option which disables the series' traditional permanent death and allows "dead" characters to return at the beginning of the next chapter.
  • Branching promotions return from The Sacred Stones, allowing for further unit customization.
  • Returning from Genealogy of the Holy War is a multi-generational character system, in which the characters of the game's first generation can fall in love (this time through the mechanics of the support system) and ultimately marry and have children with each other, with different parent combinations affecting the children's stats and skills. Unlike in Genealogy, these children are not the subject of a separate second-generation story and instead fight alongside their parents through time travel.

Chapters

The main story of Awakening is comprised of 28 chapters - an introduction, a prologue, 25 chapters, and the finale. Additionally, there are 23 sidequest chapters in the game, six of which can only be received via SpotPass. 25 completely new chapters can also be obtained through downloadable content.

Characters

The core game of Awakening features 49 playable characters, divided roughly into three groups. There are 30 initial units, comprising a "first generation". These thirty characters can, like in Genealogy of the Holy War, be paired up to have a set of children characters who join in sidequest chapters. With one exception, the children characters are completely optional, and it is entirely possible to not receive them by simply not pairing up the parents or by not visiting the sidequests in which the children are recruited. An additional six characters are available in SpotPass sidequests unlocked only immediately prior to the Endgame; these six can only support with the Avatar.

Outside of the core 49, a vast array of bonus units can be obtained through downloadable content, StreetPass or SpotPass. A total of 120 unique units are available through SpotPass, comprised of an assortment of returning characters from prior Fire Emblem series titles, with another 17 available with redesigned art through downloadable content. In addition to this, the Avatars of players are transmitted to other players through StreetPass and can potentially be recruited in the same way. Any single save file can only have twenty such bonus units active in their party at a time.

Support Conversations

Development

Fire Emblem: Awakening was first announced in Japan, only generically known as as Fire Emblem 3DS, in a Nintendo 3DS conference held by Nintendo on September 13th, 2011. As a result of the Fire Emblem series experiencing declining sales over the preceding few titles, Nintendo had delivered an ultimatum on the series' fate to the development team at Intelligent Systems: Awakening needed to reach at least 250,000 copies sold, otherwise the series would be brought to an end.[8] In response the developers eventually settled on constructing Awakening as a culmination of elements and lessons from the past Fire Emblem titles, with a particular emphasis on individual characters and the bonds between them; the latter led to the introduction of the Pair Up system as a way to further units supporting each other in battle.[7]

As with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the translation and localization process for Awakening was contracted out to the Japanese firm 8-4, rather than being handled in-house by Nintendo of America's Treehouse division like earlier Fire Emblem titles.

Demo version

The American and European Nintendo eShops each released a playable demo of Awakening for free download, released on January 17, 2013 and March 28th, 2013 respectively.[9] It allows the player to create an Avatar, albeit restricted to being male and lacking some other design choices, and play through the entirety of Prologue and Chapter 1 before ending. All three basic modes of difficulty are available for play, but Classic Mode is not available and the player is forced to play in Casual Mode. The demo is restricted to being played a maximum of thirty times in the American release, and ten times for the European release.

The demo possesses a glitch: the Bullion item does not exist in the demo, but Leif's Blade (which is available through event tiles) exists unmodified and so still attempts to load the item if its chance to "steal" a Bullion activates; as there is no Bullion item, the game crashes.[10]

The Japanese version does not have a playable demo.

Reception

Sales

In its first week released in Japan, Awakening sold approximately 242,600 copies, rivaling the lifetime sales of previous entries in the series.[11] Awakening was also number one on the Japanese game charts for its first week.[12] In the following weeks, Awakening managed to stay high on the Japanese charts.

In a level unprecedented for the series' international incarnation, the United States release was in high demand before and at release with high numbers of pre-orders placed; this resulted in the physical release being marred by shipping delays, with demand far outstripping supply at the release date.[13]

Critical reception

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu scored Awakening at 36/40, broken down between its four reviewers as 9/10 each.[14]

Awakening has received widespread critical acclaim from western reviewers. The game currently has a rating of 92 on Metacritic[15] and 92.52% on GameRankings,[16] both the highest of any installment in the Fire Emblem series. A common theme of critical praise for Awakening is its success at striking an ideal balance between accessibility for those new to the series, and with the high intricacy and difficulty for which the series is known.

IGN's Audrey Drake awarded a score of 9.6/10 to Awakening, commenting: "Boasting both the depth and nuance that tactical RPG fans crave and the ease-of-use and fluid tutorial system that newcomers require, Awakening is the ultimate portable strategy RPG, and the new crowning jewel of the Nintendo 3DS’s fledgling library."[17] Destructoid's Chris Carter gave Awakening a score of 9/10, saying: "While Fire Emblem: Awakening may not turn the notch up to 11, it's everything that's right about strategy RPGs. Whatever options you choose to go with at the beginning of the game, it's either one of the most accessible strategy games to date, or one of the most difficult."[18] The Game Informer review scored the game at 9/10,[19] as did Electronic Gaming Monthly, despite their misgivings about the visual style of the game's battle models.[20] The Escapist awarded the game a perfect 5/5 score,[21] and both GameSpot[22] and GameTrailers[23] gave it the equivalent of a 8.5/10 score.

Gallery

The core game

Merchandise and special editions

Etymology and other languages

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nintendo Direct (Nintendo of America), December 5th 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Nintendo Direct (Nintendo Europe), February 14th 2012
  3. Australian Classification Board: Fire Emblem: Awakening
  4. Entertainment Software Rating Board: Fire Emblem Awakening
  5. Nintendo World Report: Fire Emblem: Awakening Coming to North America
  6. 6.0 6.1 Andriasang.com: Fire Emblem 3DS Includes Permadeath Option
  7. 7.0 7.1 Iwata, Satoru et al. (2013). Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem: Awakening [online] Nintendo. [Accessed 2014-07-26]
  8. Laura (May 25, 2013). Fire Emblem: Awakening Was Almost The Last Game In The Series [online] Siliconera. [Accessed 2014-07-26]
  9. GoNintendo: DLC Keeps the Epic Adventure of Fire Emblem Awakening Burning Bright (demo next week)
  10. Serenes Forest Forums: USA DEMO UP!!!!
  11. 4Gamer.net: 5年ぶりの完全新作「ファイアーエムブレム 覚醒」が24万本越えの「ゲームソフト週間販売ランキング+」 (Japanese)
  12. My Nintendo News: Nine Nintendo Games In Japanese Top Ten
  13. GameInformer: Fire Emblem: Awakening Delayed Due To Shipping Error
  14. The Magic Box
  15. Metacritic: Fire Emblem: Awakening for 3DS Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More
  16. GameRankings: Fire Emblem: Awakening for 3DS
  17. IGN: Fire Emblem Awakening Review
  18. Destructoid: Fire Emblem: Awakening
  19. Game Informer: Lighting Your Brain With Brilliance - Fire Emblem: Awakening - 3DS
  20. EGMNOW: EGM Review: Fire Emblem: Awakening
  21. The Escapist: Fire Emblem: Awakening Review
  22. GameSpot: Fire Emblem: Awakening Review
  23. GameTrailers: Fire Emblem: Awakening Review

External links